Monday, 14 November 2011

89 South West Turkey

Sunday 6th November
We escaped from Istanbul and headed East along the coast. The sat nav decided it would be a good idea to take us on another boat trip so we obliged accordingly. A very pleasant and friendly crossing saving us about 80 miles of highway.
Gentle 80 miles down the line.

Then, after a fair bit of driving we wild camped at the side of Lake Sofka and enjoyed the sunset. We weren’t disturbed by any army manoeuvres.
Monday 7th November
We spent the first couple of hours sticking all our stickers on the outside of Gromit, so we look like seasoned travellers now.  We had about 30 that we have collected and we still managed to look quite bare.  It was lovely just being in the sunshine and hearing all the local wildlife. 
Still very functional, but looking bare!

Our journey took us on through some really beautiful scenery, very undulating and green and other parts very flat and parched looking.  
A very proud nation.

Dry and parched

Almost could be America.

 Today is a public holiday, it is for the festival of meat, and is in full swing.  Driving around we had seen many small vehicles with trailers on the back which contained one cow or one sheep.  Little did we appreciate that these animals were on their final drive.  On the side of the road we next saw them, dead and being butchered, which appears quite gruesome, but is the Turkish way of life, ( and only because I’m used to it all being done behind closed doors and in Tesco’s), nothing goes to waste.
We arrived at our destination of Pamukkale.  Ray had located a little campsite which we booked into as we wanted to visit the white tavertines, and also some ruins of the town of Heirapolis.  The advert said, electric and showers, the reality was this
Comfy and cosy enjoying the site

Would you plug into these?

One speed, one temperature, nothing aimed at you and freezing cold.

We got settled and it was quite funny, Leon went for a rummage round and came back just as quickly, there were large chickens running around the field. Brings real meaning to the term “ scaredy cat”.  We went out for a meal and sampled  some very nice red wine and some local Raki, which is very similar to Pernod or Ouzo.  Needless to say we slept very well again.
Tuesday 8th November
We couldn’t use the showers so it was wet wipes and dry shampoo to the rescue and we headed up to the tavertines.   Pamukkale is special for its white tavertines , surrounded by cotton fields and this is the literal meaning of Pamukkale, “cotton castle”. The thermal water contains large amounts of calcium,(chalk) and hydrogen carbonate.  The waters are also known for their health giving, besides being the life source of the tavertines.  We walked up about a 100m and then you have to take your shoes and socks off and walk up the white chalk in bare foot.

Ray looking splendid before he realised we were going to be able to at least wash our feet properly

My feet are now clean due to the flowing water.

Ray was going for a quick bath, but it was almost as cold as the shower on site.

Fabulous, speaks for itself

Still a bit too cold for bathing, but very comforting

The real beauty of nature.

and again

We made another tourist walk over the sharp bits to get this!


Debateable, but in my opinion, more amazing......
 The ground is very hard, but smooth and running water the whole way. There a lots of pools along the way and the higher you go, the warmer they become. It was all quite novel and good fun.  At the top you get dressed again and this part is called Heirapolis.  It is the most important ancient city located in this area and consists of many interesting ruins.  It is known as the Holy City owing to the large number of temples and sanctuaries found within. The city lost its Helenistic style during the reconstruction after the earthquakes and it was conquered by the Turks at the end of the 12th Century. 

The above say it all.

We spent the next 3 hours wandering around in glorious sunshine.   We had lunch back in the town at a fantastic little restaurant, complete with smoking lounge. 

Then headed off towards our next stop which is Bodrum, mostly a holiday resort and with a campsite.  We planned to stay for 4 days so we could unload Gromit and tidy her up.  The site is very primitive again.  Rays definition of tepid and mine are definitely two different things.  So cold showers all round.  The washing machine was broken, but the lovely little guy who ran the site took Ray to a local laundry and we managed to get everything done.
The worst thing about the site was the number of stray cats.
Unfortunately cats read my head sign which says "Sucker".

They all gravitated to us, (might have had something to do with the fact I gave them some food), didn’t make Leon very happy though.  We put the big tent up at the back of Gromit and could sit out and eat food and just enjoy the area.
We did stay for the next three days and we hired a quad bike so that we could travel round and do some exploring, but it was awful, nowhere near as good as my Dad’s one on the farm, so we took it back and complete with silly little helmets that nobody wears anyway, swapped it for a scooter.  We found a few expats who had settled in the area and they gave some ideas for site seeing.  

 The weather is beautiful and apparently very unseasonable, and we were easily spotted as tourists because of the shorts and t-shirts, everybody else had jumpers and coats on.  Ray came down with “flu”!!!!
Saturday 12th November
We had packed up last night so set off this morning to visit a market in a coastal town outside of Bodrum, called Turgutreis. Ray bought a new sweat shirt and nearly had a punch up with the pushy salesman who wanted him to have the track suit bottoms to go with it.

Other than that it was a lovely little seaside town and we got back on the road and carried on to Fethiye, again still on the coast.

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